Tributes paid to pilot and passenger killed in plane crash in Wolferton

GV Scenes from the Wolferton Village Plane Crash.
The Aircraft leaves the crash scene at Wolferton on Tuesday Evening around 7.30pm
GV Scenes from the Wolferton Village Plane Crash. The Aircraft leaves the crash scene at Wolferton on Tuesday Evening around 7.30pm

Tributes have been paid to the two people killed after a light aircraft crashed in Wolferton on Monday morning.

The pilot has been named as 58-year-old Nigel Dodds and his one passenger has been identified as 73-year-old Val Barnes.

GV Scenes from the Wolferton Village Plane Crash.
The Aircraft leaves the crash scene at Wolferton on Tuesday Evening around 7.30pm

GV Scenes from the Wolferton Village Plane Crash. The Aircraft leaves the crash scene at Wolferton on Tuesday Evening around 7.30pm

Mr Dodds, a businessman from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, had been flying the Piper PA-28 when it came down at about 11am.

It is understood the pair were flying to Newcastle from Menorca, where Mr Dodds had recently moved to, when tragedy struck.

Those who knew Mr Dodds have remembered him as a “very popular member of the community” – with a former colleague of Ms Barnes describing her as a “vibrant personality”.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is investigating what caused the crash.

Light aircraft which came down at Wolferton. Photo: Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

Light aircraft which came down at Wolferton. Photo: Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

A fellow pilot has described a “distraught” SOS call which he heard moments before the plane came down.

Jeff Espenship, a commercial airline pilot, was flying from Paris to New York when he was maintaining a ‘listen watch’ on an emergency frequency.

He said he wished he could have been there to help calm him after hearing Mr Dodds was in trouble.

Jeff said: “I heard this guy radioing for help. Our position was approximately 45 miles south of where he went down.

No Caption ABCDE

No Caption ABCDE

“I googled to see if they made it but was very sad to read they perished.

“His voice over the radio was very distraught. I so wished I could have been there in his cockpit to help calm him and talk him through the landing.”

The wreckage of the blue and white plane was removed from just behind the sea wall on

A friend of Mr Dodds’ has said he previously ran a catering equipment business with his brother.

He also ran a business called Alpha Yankee Ltd, offering flights in the 1979-built Piper plane.

British ex-pat and bar owner John Scott said Mr Dodds, who had lived in Cala En Porter in Menorca, was the “kindest man” he had ever met.

John said: “He did not have a bad word to say about anyone.

“He was a very popular member of our community here in Menorca and the whole village is devastated.”

Ms Barnes, from Wickham, Tyne and Wear, had previously worked and been a governor at Kelvin Grove Primary School, in Gateshead.

Head teacher Andy Jones said she would be “sadly missed” and described her as having a “vibrant personality, with a real energy and passion for life.”

He added: “Val had played a central role in school administration and contributed to the wider life of the school; running after-school gymnastic clubs and accompanying pupils on residential visits.”

Mr Dodd’s plane had been based at a private jet facility, Samson Aviation at Newcastle Airport, for “many” years.

In a statement, it said it was “extremely saddened” to hear of the accident.

Tuesday evening.

It was taken to the AAIB’s centre at Farnborough for further examination.